ISSN Magazine Barcodes


International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSNs) are the numbers allocated to all periodical publications such as magazines or journals. These numbers are applied for through an international organization that allocates all ISSN numbers. If already have an ISSN number, then you can purchase the barcode images for this below. If you require an ISSN Number, these can be applied for here.

We can supply barcode images for your ISSN number (please purchase the barcode images below).

How to Order:

When you get to the checkout page, please type your ISSN Number into the “Additional Information” section, and let us know if you want EAN-13 or EAN-13+2 format barcode images. We will use your ISSN number to create barcode images and email them through to you (in 5 different formats: jpeg, eps, tiff, bmp & pdf). We will send your barcode images to you in EAN-13 format (13-digit format), unless you request EAN-13+2 format (15-digit format) when you checkout (if you request EAN-13+2 format, please also specify what 2-digit supplement you need – e.g. “02 for issue 02”).

Difference between EAN-13 and EAN-13+2 format: EAN-13 magazine barcodes use the same 13-digit barcode on all issues of the magazine. EAN-13+2 magazine barcodes have an extra 2-digit supplement on the end to indicate the issue number (e.g. “01” indicates issue 1). The barcode changes for each issue – e.g. a quarterly magazine would publish 4 issues a year. If they wanted to use EAN-13+2 format barcodes, then they would need 4 of them (with supplements 01, 02, 03, 04). They could re-use those 4 barcodes the following year. If they wanted to use EAN-13 format barcodes, then they could use the same 13-digit barcode on all 4 issues of their magazine.

ISSN Barcodes come in 3 main formats:

1. The 8-digit ISSN number is converted to a 13-digit number (EAN-13) by adding a 977 to the beginning, taking away the check-digit, adding two numbers (00) to the end, and recalculating the check-digit. The number is then created as an image using EAN-13 Symbology which can easily be read by all barcode scanners and is essentially the same as other products with EAN-13 barcodes on them that go into stores. In this case, the same number would be printed on each issue of the magazine.

2. Again the 8-digit ISSN number is converted to a 13-digit number. However, this time the ’00’ added to the end is changed various times to create a different EAN-13 image each time. In this case, a separate barcode image would be created for each issue of the magazine.

3. The final format involves converting the ISSN number in exactly the same way as option one, however, in this case, an additional 2-digit supplement code is added to the end creating a 15-digit (EAN-13+2) number. The supplement changes for each issue and can be done on a monthly (01-12) or weekly (01-52) basis (or any other way you wish).

In the UK the 13+2 format (option 3) is the most common. Other countries tend more towards the 13-digit formats (options 1 and 2). – It is a good idea to check the stores you are hoping to stock your magazine to establish which format is the most common.

It should be noted that options 2 and 3 involve creating multiple images for the ISSN number and hence are more expensive.

Once we receive your order, we will manually create the ISSN barcode for you, and email it to you. This will normally take 2-24 hours, depending on the time of day/week that you make the order.

If you have a book and require barcodes for this, please see our book barcodes section.

If you have printed music, you’ll need to get an International Standard Music Number (ISMN), and then get that turned into barcode images. A 13-digit ISMN, e.g. 979-0-2600-0043-8, can be turned into a 13-digit EAN-13 barcode (exactly the same way that book ISBN numbers are turned into barcodes). If you have an ISMN number and you need the barcode images for it (the vertical black bars and white spaces), please purchase “ISBN Barcode Images” and enter your ISMN number into the additional information section.

If you need a barcode for your CD or DVD, we recommend our friends at Legal-Barcodes who sell CD barcodes and  DVD barcodes.

Do I need an ISSN Barcode?

You need an ISSN number (and corresponding barcode) for anything that is considered a “serial” – e.g. magazines, newspapers, journals, yearbooks, directories, and monographs in series.

The following items are not considered a “serial” therefore they shouldn’t have an ISSN number: instruction manuals; one-off ‘book-a-zines’; posters; magazine or newspaper special editions; serials not intended for public circulation; diaries; calendars; mail-order catalogues; and fill-in crossword or puzzle books.

Items that aren’t eligible for an ISSN will need a standard “EAN-13 Barcode Package” instead (you can purchase this from our shop page). If the item is a book (e.g. a manual), it might be eligible for an ISBN and corresponding barcode.